It started as a song about Californian earthquakes, at this point the song was known as “Guide To California”.
The song was inspired by “California” by Joni Mitchell, with whom Jimmy and Robert were both infatuated, but more directly inspired by her song called “If I had A King” which was about Graham Nash. ”To find a queen without a king, They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.”(Later Graham Nash responded with a song called “I Used To Be A King”.)
In 2007 Robert stated that the song was about him reflecting on the first years of the group, when he was only about 20, and was struggling to find himself in the midst of all the craziness of California and the band and the groupies.
But anyway, Michele Overman was the main inspiration: “Someone told me there’s a girl out there, With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair”, Jimmy Page told Michele. The song was not written for her, but she definitely was one of the influences and represented the “whole California thing” that inspired the song.